2019 Advent Devotional: Wed, 12/18

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Image by Mary Bettini Blank from Pixabay

Scripture: Luke 1:46-55

Luke 1:46-55 is also known as Mary’s Song. In the Christmas story, Mary’s Song comes shortly after Mary had learned that she would be giving birth to Jesus, and that her cousin Elizabeth would be giving birth to John the Baptist. After leaving the angel Gabriel, Mary visits her cousin to share in the experience. It is in the context of that visit that we get today’s scripture reading.

The hymn starts with Mary giving praise to God with a humility that is refreshing when heard with modern ears. Mary then shifts and starts to give justification for her enthusiasm. Her entire reasoning essentially being, God has taken power from the powerful and given it to the powerless. This would have been a compelling message to the average person given the power structures of the Roman Empire.

I looked up a few sermons on these verses, and they universally focused on Mary’s humility. Not one even mentioned Mary’s enthusiasm for restructuring the power imbalances in her society. When I think of the current alignment of what has become of Christianity and the power structures in our society, I struggle with that interpretation.

Looking at this scripture through the lens of our theme, Seeking Peace/Breaking Barriers, my ear focuses more on Mary’s later point. When I think about the farmers and factory workers that I come from, and the lives of the immigrant families I am blessed to work in each day, I hear a different message. I hear a call to action, a way being in this world.

Prayer: God of justice and reconciliation, help us not to take your blessings as an entitlement, but as grace. Help us to see ourselves as the strength of your right arm when power structures of our world momentarily disrupt your promise. Amen.

~Jason Malmberg